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There are as many types of pasta salad recipes as there are people on the planet. Your aunt Edna might still swear by the old standard of mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper for the dressing. However, your mother might have decided that Caesar salad dressing is what needs to go on pasta salad. The basics of a pasta salad are the same though. You take some fun-shaped pasta, some vegetables, and a dressing in a bowl and create a beautiful dish. The pasta salad we have before us today is tangy, exotic, and just a little bit more fun than your most common Aunt Edna variety of pasta salad.
- 1 pound of penne, rotini, or bow tie pasta
- 1 cup of diced bell pepper
- 1 cup of shredded zucchini
- 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of diced onion
- 1/4 cup of pepperoncini Peppers
- 1/4 cup of fresh banana Peppers
- 1 cup of olives halved
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of fresh mozzarella balls
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil chopped
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until tender. This should take about 10 minutes. When the pasta is finished, drain and rinse it under cold water.
- As the pasta is cooking, take a large bowl to make the dressing. Makes the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil together until well blended. Add the rinsed pasta to the dressing and toss to mix well.
- Stir in the bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, pepperoncini, olives, parmesan, and mozzarella.
- Taste to adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Place in a bowl with an airtight lid and refrigerate before serving.
- Serve chilled. It can last in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- Some nice to add things to this particular pasta salad would be ham chunks, canned chicken, turkey breast, cucumber, green onions, grated carrots, sliced radish, cauliflower, or broccoli.
- Make sure not to overcook the pasta as it can become a mushy mess.
- Grated cheese can work in the place of mozzarella.
- This is a great barbecue or picnic food that can be made a day in advance before the guests arrive. It’s also great to whip together at the beginning of the week so that you always have something for lunch or as a side for dinner on busy nights.
- It doesn’t freeze well so don’t make too much at one time. Cook up only a week’s worth at a time.
- Some neat spices to put on top of your pasta salad include paprika, mustard seed, cumin, parsley, and rosemary.
- Each serving is about 1/10th of the salad. Each serving contains approximately 363 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of protein, and 19 grams of fat.